Aeonium. This is a member of the Crassulaceaceae, a family of succulents that all utilize the CAM Photosynthetic pathway, the most historically recent variation in photosynthesis. CAM is believed to have independently developed many times through convergence. It is not tied to a particular monophyletic line. CAM and an Aeonium’s capacity to store water were both adaptations to a more arid environment, one that did not exist in earth’s earliest history. While this makes it a more recent development the morphology of the plant mimics more primitive structures, like its petiole-less leaves that attach directly to the stem leaving a scar where they had been attached and a stem structure more characteristic of some of the most primitive ‘trees’. But these aren’t among the most primitive plants. Botanist tend to assign the family to a date between ~100-70 Ma. These are a striking ‘product’ of the modification of genes that still meet the modern requirements of a plant in a changed world.

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